INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning is the gift that keeps on giving.
Sure, you take into account the future Pro Football Hall of Famer's historic 18-year playing career — the first 14 of which were spent in Indianapolis — but Manning has been able to extend his reach beyond football through his comedic gifts.
Whether it's a funny commercial, a cameo on a popular TV show or his hosting duties, such as on the ESPYs or Saturday Night Live, Manning's mixture of dry, well-timed lines and self-depreciation just never really seems to get old.
So it's no surprise that the National Football League and its broadcast partners continue to utilize Manning whenever they can, a theme that continued before and during Super Bowl LIII on Sunday night.
First, Manning was a main character in CBS Sports' opener, in which the former quarterback presents what he feels should be the approach entering the big game. That video can be seen here, with some highlights below:
Voice-over: “Warriors have been fighting on the battlefields for ages. Two opposing forces, with a belief that they are the bravest, the strongest, the greatest. Each fighting to be…”
“…a hero,” Manning says, as the scene flips to a conference table where he is pitching his idea to TV executives. “That’s it. That’s your Super Bowl LIII open. … What do you think?”
Needless to say, the execs aren’t crazy about the “gladiators” theme presented by Manning, prompting this hilarious back-and-forth once again showing off Manning’s skills in comedy:
Executive: “Listen, Peyton, we brought you on as a consultant because we wanted your football expertise.”
Manning: “And you’re gettin’ it.”
Executive: “I mean, as a Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest…”
Manning: “…Uh — two-time.”
Executive: “Excuse me?”
Manning: “Two-time Super Bowl champion? You said ‘a Super Bowl champion.’ It just doesn’t have the same ring to it. And I know Brady’s won five, and I don’t get my mail at the Super Bowl like Brady does. But I won two, and I’m proud of it. So — sorry. You were saying?”
Executive: “…I don’t think this is going to work for us.”
Manning: “The wheels are already in motion.”
Executive: “What do you mean ‘in motion?’”
Manning: “Uhh. We rented out the Coliseum for the actual shoot.”
Other executive: “You rented out the L.A. Coliseum?”
Manning: “No. The Roman Coliseum.”
Executive: “In Rome, Italy?”
Manning: “No; Rome, Ga. Yes, Rome, Italy.”
Eventually, we find out Manning has sent out actor John Malkovich to the Roman Coliseum, where he loops him into the room via video conference call.
Turns out Malkovich also isn’t a fan of the “gladiators” theme, which also prompts another hilarious couple rounds of back-and-forths with No. 18.
NFL 100 Super Bowl Commercial
The NFL in 2019 is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and started things off with a bang with what many considered to be the best Super Bowl ad of the night on Sunday.
Here's that video, with some Manning-related items to watch out for below:
0:01: Shot of the back of Manning’s head as commissioner Roger Goodell welcomes the crowd of NFL legends (and current stars).
0:04: Shot of Manning, decked out in a dark tuxedo, nodding his head and clapping to Goodell’s welcoming remarks.
0:24: As Goodell’s opening remarks continue, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch just cant help himself as he stares at the large cake next to him. Lynch leans over to scoop his finger into the cake, but his chair gives way, and he jolts the large baked good, sending the decorative golden commemorative football to the ground. “Oh boy,” Manning utters, as Goodell stops speaking, both of whom knowing what’s coming next. “FUMBLE!” former great Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary yells, as Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and many other former and current defenders in the room begin to pile up on the floor.
0:58: With the ball being passed around from legend to legend, player to player, it’s Manning’s time to shine. He drops back and motions for his receiver, former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, to go deeper, and then unleashes a successful pass to LT. “You still got it,” former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan tells Manning, who is stretching out his right arm. “Yeah, that hurt,” Manning answers.